Strengthening GIS Capacity in Marshall Islands


A two-week training to upgrade Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) skills was held in the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) from 3-12 December 2019.

The training aimed at building capacity of the RMI GIS User Group with refresher basic training and specialised GIS/RS training, facilitated by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Geoinformatics Team.

A total of seventeen  participants that included five females attended, representing number of sectors comprising the RMI User Group: Kwajalein Utilities Authority, National Disaster Management Office, Ministry of Health, Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, Statistics Office, Environment Protection Agency, Atoll Conservation, Central Planning Office etc.   

“It was good to see a wide representation of the GIS User Group and we hope the training will build on their current skills so they can support their respective organisations in developing their spatial data sets,” said Carol Chan, SPC’s lead GIS/RS trainer.

The focus of the training was to provide understanding and familiarity with available open spatial datasets, tools and particularly how these can be used in developing baseline data. The training consisted of a mix of theory and practical exercises; ending with participants identifying how they can utilise the skills taught to solve an issue in their different work areas.

A critical part of the training was developing their own datasets utilising existing datasets and georeferencing historical aerial images.

The Pacific Resilience Program (PREP) is engaging with the RMI GIS User Group to support building their nation-wide Spatial Data Infrastructure. This followed a needs assessment that was undertaken earlier where capacity building was ranked an important priority, resulting in this training. In addition, accessing satellite imagery was also requested including data sharing across organisations and to focus on developing GIS/RS skillsets at the basic and intermediate levels.  

This GIS support to RMI is implemented under National Disaster Management Capacity Building component of the PREP II project. The project is also collecting lidar imagery covering Majuro and Ebeye atolls and will also procure satellite imagery for the two atolls. Further support is being provided through other components to strengthen coastal management including resilient development.  

Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) Division